I would like to introduce you to my newest edition. The beautiful, wonderful, healthy Anuhea. She’s 7 pounds, 21 inches, and came out butt first.
When my son was born almost four years ago we thought he would be breech. My midwife prepped me on what we would have to do. “Pant like a dog.” she told me. I don’t want you pushing till you are a full full 10 cm. She double and triple checked that I was still up for the home birth. “YES!” I said. Only I didn’t have to. Milo turned around just in time. We hadn’t realized it till my husband spied hair and a sense of ease flowed over the living room. It didn’t matter that he was already crowning when we realized he flipped, he flipped and that was all that mattered.
This morning just about 5 hours ago I had the opposite experience. Anuhea is at the moment all of five hours old warm, healthy, and cuddling with my very exhausted birth partner and her father. She was mistakingly diagnosed head down from early on in my pregnancy, or else she flipped last second like her brother because I know for a fact that at 33 weeks she was head down (we had an ultrasound). So, it came as a huge surprise when that very bald and folded head turned out not to be a head at all. Feeling for my dilation I pointed out to my midwife that this head felt like no head I had felt before but my midwife believed that she might have a common bruise on her head that caused it to feel that way and not to worry. Anuhea was in fact frank breech, the most favorable positions for a breech baby to be in. Her feet were at her head like one of those beautiful sleeping baby pictures only without the crochet hat on. Her little bottom came as surprise to everyone except me as I’d been poking at for the last hour trying to help myself get to 10 cm. She presented butt first, my midwife helped her legs come through, and then, thankfully the rest of her made it’s entrance.
One of the big issues with a breech birth is that since their bottom is usually smaller than their head their head their head can get stuck on the way out. My little girl was born with a 15 inch bottom and 13 inch head, so no such problems occurred. Still, it was a shocker when my so called “first normal” labor turned into a breech birth, and I can tell you my hips are still work on adjusting. At the same time this is my third child, and the only one so far that has no strawberry marks on her face, she latched on perfectly, and is the only one who’s placenta just slipped out so easily I barely had to push.
I am not saying it was an easy birth, I am not saying it was without it’s moments of worry but every birth has it’s ups and downs and special moments, all three of mine have. What irks me is how often fear and stigma gets associated with a breech birth. The first midwife I interviewed when I was pregnant with my son told me flat out that she did NOT do breech, multiples, or a number of other issues I can not recall at the moment. When I told fellow mothers that I was going ahead with a homebirth with Milo they all looked at me like I was crazy and putting my child in harms way.
I happen to run a facebook page on natural parenting and birthing. It began for the purpose of introducing doula and midwife seekers to a list they connect with in Honolulu. Now it’s become more of an article database on birth, nursing, and parenting. It just so happens that less than a month ago I posted to different articles on breech births.
The second article I particularly love because it debunks that myth that a c-section is the only answer to a breech birth. The truth is that while c-sections can be necessary in some very high risk positions of breech, c-sections carry their own array of complications and issues making a vaginal birth truly the safest method of deliver for a breech baby like mine. It is really interesting to me looking at my three beautiful homebirths because I can see in each one how a hospital situation could have crumbled very quickly into chaos and possible surgery. Thankfully I can look at my choices with pride because each child from my first with his cord around his neck to my most recent with her breech have come out safely and healthy in the peace and love of my home without the unnecessary trauma and intrusion that a hospital birth can bring.